Working Equitation of Virginia is an organization dedicated to growing working equitation in the Mid-atlantic region in the USA. Working Equitation of Virginia has shows, clinics, events and practice sessions through the year. Our goal is to quickly bring more working equitation into our region, and developing a sustainable organization to carry these events forward into future years. Working Equitation of Virginia is a member of the Confederation for Working Equitation, the foremost organization in the United States for Working Equitation.
Of course, having fun, learning about our horses, horsemanship, riding skills and building a community of fellow working equitation enthusiasts are all are important too!
But truthfully, right now - A very small group of people is behind this effort. We need officers, members and people willing to put in some time. Please consider helping us in any way you can!
Leading the effort to form this organization is Jill Glasspool Malone, PhD. She has been involved with working equitation since 2011 and has had a large role in bringing Working Equitation to the USA, culminating in the co-founding of the Confederation for Working Equitation. She has trained and worked with Pedro Torres, Antonio Vicente, Claudia Matos, Tarrin Warren, and Carlos Carneros. Jill is an L judge with the Confederation, and has shown extensively in working equitation, as well as breed shows and driving events. Her other passion is breeding Lusitanos. Jill is available to judge, give clinics and run playdays.
Contact Jill Glasspool Malone, PhD for more information and how you can get involved. firstname.lastname@example.org or 240-315-4394
What is Working Equitation?
While Working Equitation is a well-known discipline in Europe, and it is growing in popularity in the United States. The discipline of Working Equitation was created to promote the different types of equitation techniques developed in countries that used the riding horse to work on farms, ranches and with livestock in Europe. Working Equitation is a real test of the horse's temperament and training, the riders skill and ability and of course the relationship between horse and rider.
American horsemen of all disciplines are embracing the new sport of Working Equitation. Horsemen riding every breed of horse and any discipline from Classical Dressage to Western Cow Horses are trying their hand at the precision and unity of horse and rider needed to excel at Working Equitation.
Working Equitation is comprised of four phases, including working dressage, ease of handling with obstacles, speed obstacles and cattle handling. Working Equitation is a sport steeped in history, as the goal is to preserve and carry on the cultural traditions of each country and its horses. At the International level, the advanced riders must ride with the reins only in one hand but at the lower levels may ride with both hands. This discipline is based on horses working on the ranch, with cattle and in the fields--so the rider will need the other hand to manipulate equipment.
The dressage phase is much like that of a normal dressage test although some of the movements are performed slightly differently. At the highest level it involves some Grand Prix movements being performed with the use of just one hand.
The ease of handling test consists of a course of obstacles, replicating those that may be found when working in the countryside. For example, a gate, a bridge and a jump. There are also other more technical obstacles such as the parallel slalom, straight slalom and barrels all of which at Advanced level require the horse and rider to perform flying changes in specific places in order to perform the obstacle correctly. Riders are given a mark out of ten for precision, submission and ease of movement for each obstacle.
The speed test involves some or all of the same obstacles tackled in the ease of handling test but is purely marked on the time it takes for the horse and rider to complete to course. Time faults and bonuses can occur according to specific obstacles.
Working Equitation is structured so that performance levels match the skill set of riders from introductory horsemanship skills to master's level.
Apart from the foundation dressage training needed, the horses also need to be agile and bold – horses that you could use in the field for opening gates, crossing over bridges and herding cattle. This competition allows the outdoor country atmosphere into the confines of an arena, which makes it a very popular spectator as well as rider sport. The sport of Working Equitation is the ultimate result of the development of the horse as a working animal.
No matter what your riding discipline or breed of horse we hope you join us in Working Equitation!
We are quickly building many exciting new clinic and show opportunities in Virginia. Please send us your working equitation event in Virginia or the the mid-atlantic region to be placed on our calendar.